5 Lessons I Learned From a Tradesman

by Sara Schu, I & O Medical Centers

child with tradesmanI grew up in a small Virginia town where CEOs and millionaires were far and few between; instead, we had farmers and skilled laborer jobs. Coming from a community where a hard day’s work was the only way to survive, I have instilled within me admiration and respect for laborers and tradespeople. One of my greatest role models, my father, has worked construction for as long as I can remember. Although I have taken a very different career path, there are many lessons I have learned from my father and community that still affect me today:

All In a Day’s Work — For many service workers no job is too dirty, too hard, and/or too physically demanding. These men and women work through the elements and aches and pains simply because it’s their job. My dad, as many tradespeople, didn’t come home with bonuses or appreciation gifts but still got up every day and did his job to the best of his ability because the safety of the build and productivity of the team depended on it.

Rain or Shine — Most of the workforce has to work rain or shine. Keeping this in mind gives me perspective of my climate-controlled office and warm coffee in my hand.  Growing up with a father that went to work rain or shine has certainly taught me to appreciate my job and work because there are employees out in less favorable conditions.

Handy Man’s Secret Weapon… Duct Tape —I have heard my dad say this millions of times. Just to be clear, I am not encouraging anyone to build a house or fix a mistake with duct tape; but instead, admiring the ability to problem solve and make it work. Tradesmen don’t often throw up their hands and walk away. Instead they re-work plans, create a missing piece and do whatever they can to find a solution to the problem. They simply make it work!

Measure Twice, Cut Once — Any person could take a lesson from a skilled craftsmen when it comes to details. Think about it: in construction or manufacturing the margin of error has to be VERY minimal. Your job, safety and project depends on it. Taking their focus and detailed nature into any job WILL help you succeed, I guarantee.

Master Tradesmen — My dad was not a college grad until much later in life, but he was able to provide for us because he found his skillset in construction. We are not all going to be CEOs and millionaires but life is about realizing what skills you have and becoming a master of your trade.


With these lessons and many more ingrained in my head, I guess it is very fitting that I work for I & O Medical Centers, a company that serves these workers daily.  As a company, we are honored for the opportunity to support the Hampton Roads Area workforce and thankful for the men and women for which no job is too dirty, too hard, or too physically demanding.